Tag Archives: The Church

Never Stop Praying!

“When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.”  Corrie ten Boom

“Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein,
and mercy will come down.”~John Wesley

Never Never Never Stop Praying!

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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The Word of God Rules

He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. Micah 4:2.

preacher-at-pulpit-copy Here in a few words the prophet defines true worship of God. For it would not be enough for the nations to come together to one place to confess that they are worshipers of one God if they did not also show real obedience. True obedience depends on faith, as faith depends on the Word. It is, therefore, especially worthy of note that the prophet here sets God’s Word in the center to show us that religion is founded on obedience in faith, and that God can be worshiped only when he himself teaches his people and tells them what they ought to do. When God’s will is revealed to us, we can truly adore him. When the Word is taken away, some form of worship of God remains, but there is no real religion which could please God.

whitewithblack_edited-1.jpgHence we conclude that the church of God can be established only where the Word of God rules, where God shows by his voice the way of salvation. Therefore, until true doctrine sheds its light, men cannot be gathered in one place to constitute the true body of the church. Clearly, then, where the teaching is corrupt or is despised, there is no religion approved by God. Men can, indeed, take God’s name boastfully on their lips; but before God, there is no religion except what is measured by the rule of the Word. It follows then that there is no church which is not subject to God’s Word and is not ruled by it. The prophet here defines both true religion and the way in which God gathers his church. (John Calvin, Calvin Commentaries)

He will teach us of His ways,
and we will walk in His paths.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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What I Learned This Week In Romans

I learned in Romans that the Law has nothing to say to a dead man Romans 7:1, we read in Romans 6:14 that sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. We see here that Paul gives us an illustration of marriage Romans 7:2, 3 , No one can loosen the bonds of marriage until someone dies.

Let me give you a personal illustration of this, when my dad died the bonds of marriage was broken and my mom was free to marry any one she wanted, so after grieving for a few years she met someone and they were married 1 Corinthians 7:39. The death of my dad ended their relationship and allowed for my mom to have a new relationship. My mom as a widow was free to marry again as Paul said in 1 Timothy 5:14… Paul’s plain and simple point here is death breaks the marriage relationship.

Here comes the therefore… Paul says Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4

Just as we who are believers died to the Law, we now have a new relationship with Christ in His death and we are now joined to Christ in His resurrection, Christ suffered the penalty of death that the law demanded. We are now joined to Him 2 Corinthians 11:2 in His life.

Why? In order that we might bear fruit for God!.

Our relationship with Christ produces FRUIT… As Tim showed us in John 15: 1, 2, 5 and 16.

Lets look what Jesus said in verse 16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. We have new attitudes Galatians 5:22, 23.

It says in Ephesians 2 verse 8 and 9 Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Then in verse 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

James Boice in his Romans commentary says writes… What is Paul’s point? Simply that the object of God’s having freed us from the law, to which we were bound, was that we might be joined to Christ and be fruitful. In fact, it is even stronger than that. In Greek the sentence ends with the words “in order that we might bear fruit to God,” which means that in this case it is the fruitfulness of the Christian, rather even than his union with Christ, that is emphasized.

Donald Grey Barnhouse writes on fruit… One of the most important purposes of redemption is that we might bring forth fruit unto God. We were transplanted out of death and rooted and grounded in His love so that we might bring forth fruit. Fruit is the expression of life, and in the Word of God fruit is indicative of converts, character, and conduct.

I end with another quote from James Boice’s Romans commentary, because he says it a lot better than I can…

One day the great God of the universe is going to throw a party. It will be the most magnificent party that has ever been held. The banquet will be spread in heaven. The guests will be numbered in the billions. The angelic legions will be there to serve these honored guests. Jesus, the Bridegroom, will be seated at his Father’s right hand. And you will be there, too, for this is the great marriage supper of the Lamb. You will be there. Do you understand that? You will be there. Nothing is going to keep you from that great celebration—if you are really joined to Jesus Christ.

So what are you doing? Are you living a halfhearted life for Jesus Christ now? If you know where you are headed, you will be preparing for that day with every spiritual thought you have and with every deed you do. You will be bearing fruit for God, because on that day of celebration you will be able to lift it up and offer it to him with pure hands and with joy unspeakable.

Nothing is going to keep you
from that great celebration
—if you are really joined
to Jesus Christ.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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What I Learned this week in Romans

We are about to end the first of three chapter that deal with Sanctification (Romans 6-8) with only the last two verses left, Romans 6:22, 23. In the first three chapters of Romans Paul has to literally get us lost as he shows us in detail that the whole world is guilty Romans 3:1- 15. Then there’s the greatest paragraph in the bible Romans 3:21-26, where Christ is our propitiation. Then we hear a “Therefore” from Paul in  Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, The same thing happens at the end of chapter 5:21  so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If Jesus Christ is truly our Lord now that we are saved, Then He is Master of our life, He is in control of our life and our walk as Christian, That’s why Paul can say “so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. Romans 6:19.” Look at Hebrews 2:11 and 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Paul says come out 2 Corinthians 6:17 through the word of God John 17:17, 18 and 19 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Paul has taught us in Romans 6 that believers are delivered from the penalty of sin, being justified and from the power of sin, being sanctified. We have learned so far that believers are dead to sin and sin is no longer our master, though sin will remain in us, it will no longer reign in our life… We are now slaves to righteousness Romans 6:18. Paul can say in Romans 6:19 so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

This week we look at Romans 6:20, 21 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. When sin was our master we were free from living a right life and the control of righteousness, we didn’t care about being righteous, we cared about ourselves and the pleasures of sin.

Look what Jesus said in John 8:31-36…..

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

When we were slaves of sin we didn’t care to live a right life, we liked our sin, but now the true mark of a Christian is we hate our sin and sin no longer has dominion over our lives. Jesus Christ, He reigns in our life as Lord and (new)Master. I told the class I think its impossible to have Christ as Savior without Him being our Lord Romans 10:9 and 1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.. and only true believers have the Holy Spirit.

Paul asks in Romans 6:21 what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? The word benefit is Karpos, which literally means fruit, so the obvious answer would be none, no fruit, so as we who are believers look back, we are ashamed, we are ashamed of our past life of sin and our lack of God and Christ in our life and the outcome would have been death.

Even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins God in His sovereign grace saved and rescued us from His wrath Ephesians 2:1-4 and prepared us beforehand to bear fruit and that we would “WALK” in them,  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 we have gone from death to life, a life that has Christ as our Lord and Master, to do His will in our lives, not perfectly, but we have been sanctified, set apart for God’s use. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work 2 Timothy 2:21.

Paul can say “I AM CONFIDENT” in Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work (Justification) in you will perfect it (Sanctification) until the day of Christ Jesus (Glorification). Paul can say later in Philippians 2:12, 13 Work out your salvation with fear and trembling… How? Well! Its God who is in you! Right? Working out what God worked in Philippians 1:6, which leads to holiness 1 Peter 1:14–16 , because it is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure’ Philippians 2:13.

I can’t wait to get to next week and tie it all together with the final two verse in Romans 6 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But then we have Romans seven and “Sin” that pops it’s ugly head, but that’s for future weeks.

“but the free gift of God
is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

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What Now?

I don’t now about you, but that question has entered my mind more than once this past week after the election… What Now?

The above 11 minute audio clip I found at Grace To You blog will give you some help with that answer.

I was taking with someone after church this past Sunday, we were talking about the persecuted church and we both had the same thought, we’re going to see who the true Christians are… Because fake Christians won’t be persecuted, I think the next four years persecution will come more and more to the church in America and the church will be purified.

I couldn’t help but think about the church at Smyrna in Revelation 2:8, 9, 10 and 11 and the faithful promise of Christ in verse 11… He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’ Over comers are true believers!

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’ Revelation 2:8-11

Here is the wonderful, powerful, promise of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ “I will build My church”

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

The there’s the golden chain of redemption…… Romans 8:28-31

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 

For those whom He foreknew are……

these whom He predestined,
He also called;
and these whom He called,
He also justified;
and these whom He justified,
He also glorified.

If God is for us, who is against us?

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

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What I Learned In Church This Week

Jesus who was the greatest teacher, scholar and theologian to ever live said in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. I have to ask the question…. Who’s your Master?  Let me ask it this way…  Whose slave are you?

Paul says in Romans 6 verse 14  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14. No person is completely free from anything or anyone, you are either doing one of two things. You are slaves either of sin and this world, or of obedience resulting in righteousness and slaves to Christ.

Here are the verses we tackled in sunday school in our Romans study… What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? Romans 6:15, 16

This might sound familiar because we had a similar argument in Romans 6:1 that was habitual sin but here Paul talks about occasional sin that is planned out because we have grace and Paul gives the same answer May it never be!

Kenneth Wuest writes… “This second question proposes a life of planned infrequent, spasmodic acts of sin, since grace makes it impossible for a Christian to live a life of habitual sin. Paul answers this question in Romans 6:16-23 by showing that the Christian has changed masters, and that serving the Lord Jesus, it is not his nature to sin.” Wuest paraphrases it…”What then? Shall we sin occasionally, because we are not under law but under grace?”

We who are Christians were once enslaved by sin but we have been purchased and redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ 1 Peter 1:18, 19. So how then can we who have been purchased and redeemed go on sinning? The answer is we can’t!

Paul’s NOT talking perfection here but he is talking obedience to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ… A persons pattern of living proves who his master is, if a person’s life is marked continually by sin as a lifestyle, then that person is a slave to Sin (Their Master).

We as true believes are the property of our Lord Jesus Christ and He rescues us from this evil age Galatians 1:4 We obey Him because we love Him who first loved us. 1 John 4:19 and He controls us 2 Corinthians 5:14… It was Jesus Himself who said “If you love me keep My commandments” John 14:15.

What was the purpose of God creating us then redeeming us if not for holiness and to be separated from this world? Peter takes this up in his first letter: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:16, then Paul… But we are holy creatures “in Christ” (saints separate from this world) “For this is the will of God, your Sanctification” 1 Thessalonians 4:3

In Romans 12:2 Paul says do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. You see you are either doing one of two things as a Christian, that is you our being conformed to this world or you are being transformed by the renewing of your minds that is it, there is no middle ground.

When does this start, when do we start this process of sanctification? I recently ask this question to a friend of mine and he gave me the correct answer emphatically… he said “Immediately.”  Sanctification does not occur in an experience subsequent to salvation but rather coincides with it.

In Sunday School we are in Romans 6, and its filled with detail about sanctification, Paul shows us that Christians have been:

  • Freed from the power of sin
  • Enabled to live in newness of life under the reign of grace
  • Unified with Christ in his resurrection
  • Made new creatures

Christians will always struggle against sin and YES sometimes fall into sin, but a true believer is a new creature, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 who have been freed from sin and our old self is set aside Romans 6:6-7.

But then there is Romans 7 and the sin that pops up in our lives that we struggle with, that leads Paul to say these words…Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:24, 25

But we are not to lose heart and not growing weary Galatians 6:9 But we are to press on with the recognition we have not become perfect Philippians 3:12-16, but it is God who is in us that does the work of sanctification Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Hebrews 13:20-21 and as Philippians 2:12, 13 says we cooperate with Him. As we learned in Sunday school we trust God that we are free from the bondage of sin and alive to God in Christ Romans 6:11

What’s are participation in all this? That we renew our minds in the word of God like newborn babies, we long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it we may grow in respect to salvation, 1 Peter 2:2 Paul in Romans 12:2 again but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

The great thing about “GRACE”
is that it truly alters a persons walk

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

 

 

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MacArthur Monday

I have posted this video before, it just seems right to post it again today, we as Christians come together to worship God in spirit and truth John 4:24 and in the name of Jesus Christ, it’s a communion of believers as a congregation, with one focus and one focus only to worship God and for the glory of our Lord, to be built up by hearing a word from God preached which is able to convict us and encourage us, giving us much hope and joy.

Then the mission of the church is to evangelize the world. GO! Matthew 28:19-20, Go therefore and make disciples (BELIEVERS, NOT PEW WARMERS) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. 

“We gather to be edified.
We scatter to Evangelize.”

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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The Ministry of the Word

After I read this quote below I am reminded of Acts 6:4 and that reads “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Don’t get me wrong all the other ministries are very important, But we! We the  spiritual teachers, the elders and most importantly the Pastors! We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. This is just a reminder to you who Pastor and Teach to what you were ordained to do, namely the ministry of the Word

To ministers let me say this as strongly as I can. Preach Christ, preach Christ, preach Christ. Get out of your offices and get into your studies. Quit playing office manager and program director, quit staffing committees, and even right now recommit yourselves to what you were ordained to do, namely the ministry of the Word and sacraments. Pick up good theology books again: hard books, classical texts, great theologians. Claim the energy and time to study for days and days at a time. Disappear for long hours because you are reading Athanasius on the person of Jesus Christ or Wesley on sanctification or Augustine on the Trinity or Calvin on the Christian life or Andrew Murray on the priesthood of Christ. Then you will have something to say that’s worth hearing.

Remember that exegesis is for preaching and teaching; it has no other use. So get out those tough commentaries and struggle in depth with the texts. Let most of what you do be dominated by the demands of the sermon as if your whole life and reason for being is to preach Christ, because it is. Claim a new authority for the pulpit, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, over you and your people. Commit yourself again to ever more deeply becoming a careful preacher of Christ. Don’t preach to grow your congregation; preach to bear witness to what the Lord is doing, and let him grow your church. Dwell in him, abide in him, come to know him ever more deeply and convertedly. Tell the people what he has to say to them, what he is doing among them and within them, and what it is he wants them to share in. He is up to something in your neighborhood, if you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Develop a christological hermeneutic for all you do and say. Why? Because there is no other name, that’s why.

Andrew Purves, The Crucifixion of Ministry: Surrendering Our Ambitions to the Service of Christ (IVP, 2007), 44-45.

HT: Justin Taylor He writes about this quote: “In a day when many pastors are downplaying serious study of God’s word and the necessary time for their own sermon preparation, I found this quote from Andrew Pervis bracing and prophetic”

“Don’t preach to grow your congregation;
preach to bear witness to what the Lord is doing,
and let him grow your church.”

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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Meeting God

We had a prayer meeting last night, and it was just a wonderful time in prayer to our great God, with fellowship and communion with Him and His people.

It reminded me of one of my favorite puritan prayers Meeting God… Also the truth that my life needs to be steeped in much prayer:

Great God, in public and private, in sanctuary and home, may my life be steeped in prayer, filled with the spirit of grace and supplication, each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise. Urged by my need, invited by Thy promises, called by Thy Spirit, I enter Thy presence, worshipping Thee with godly fear, awed by Thy majesty, greatness, glory, but encouraged by Thy love.

I am all poverty as well as all guilt, having nothing of my own with which to repay Thee, but I bring Jesus to Thee in the arms of faith, pleading His righteousness to offset my iniquities, rejoicing that He will weigh down the scales for me, and satisfy thy justice. I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace, that, although the lest sin deserves infinite punishment because done against an infinite God, yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible, there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep.

Bless me by revealing to me more of His saving merits, by causing Thy goodness to pass before me, by speaking peace to my contrite heart; strengthen me to give Thee no rest untiI Christ shall reign supreme within me in every thought, word, and deed, in a faith that purifies the heart, overcomes the world, works by love, fastens me to Thee, and ever clings to the cross. (Anonymous  Puritan Prayers)

 

Great God, in public and private,
in sanctuary and home,
may my life be steeped in prayer.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny


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The Communion Service

But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28

At the heart of the present significance of the Lord’s Supper is our communion or fellowship with Christ, hence the term “communion service.” In coming to this service the believer comes to meet with Christ and have fellowship with Him at His invitation. The examination takes place because it would be hypocrisy for us to pretend that we are in communion with the Holy One while actually cherishing known sin in our hearts. (James Montgomery Boice Taken from “Foundations of the Christian Faith-Book I” )

It is true that the Lord’s Supper is only for sinners. But within that group, it is only for repentant sinners. (Mark Dever The Marks of the Church)

Lord God help us come to the Lord’s table with self-examination and discernment… That Jesus Christ will be a reality to us and not just a monthly symbol.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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